National Library, Sarajevo
This beautiful building was targeted during the siege of Sarajevo. It was shelled and subsequently went on fire. Despite a line up of people passing bucket after bucket of river water to try and extinguish the flames, more than 2 million books were destroyed in the flames, many of them irreplacable. Ashes fom the books rained down on Sarajevo for days. This willful act of destruction shocked the world at the time. The building is currently sealed off and is still being restored.
The National Library is one of the most significant landmarks in Sarajevo. It was constructed in pseudo-Moorish style after plans of Alexander Wittek during the period of Austrian rule at the very end of the 19th century.
After completion the building was once used as the town hall and later it became home to the National Library. More than 2 million books were destroyed during a massive shelling of the building in the recent war (25.08.1992).
Nowadays the building is still a ruin and used for free of charge art exhibtions, which gives you the chance to see the interior of the building.
The National Library is situated on the right bank of the river Mijacka, just adjacent to the bridge Seher Cehajin Most. The Restaurant Inat Kuca stands on the other side of the river.
The National Library was housed in the old town hall known as Vijecnica, a graceful Moorish revival building constructed in the heart of the city during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and inaugurated in 1896.
This is one of the best Moorish Example in the world.I thought it s from Ottoman period but I t was from Austro-hungarian period.
When Serb artillery bombarded the library in August 1992, flames engulfed almost 50,000 feet of wooden bookshelves and burned a central atrium, richly carved staircases and the ceremonial auditoriums of the structure, built in 1896 as the town hall. The auditoriums had become reading rooms in 1951, when the building was converted to the national library for the republic within the Yugoslav federation. Books, original manuscripts, the archives of Serb, Croat, Bosnian and Jewish writers, the entire catalogue system, microfilm, computers and photo labs were all destroyed.
Few yards away from the old town square, you find the remain of what used to be called 'National Library' containing valuable books, journals and other materials of south slavic literature. It was allegedly burnt by Serb forces and in other opinion materials were damaged by later administrative negligence rather than burning. Whatever the reason is, the exterior can stil give an idea of its architectural beauty. After Turkey lost control over Bosnia, it was built by the Austrian empire as Town Hall in 1894 and converted into library in 1945. the architecture is influenced by Islamic style arches.
The National Library formerly served as a government building for the Austro-Hungarian empire, then the Town Hall for Sarajevo, and now the National Library. As the National Library, it had housed many rare and valuable books and documents.
In 1992, during the war, Vejecnica was deliberately burned. The interior, exterior and contents were extensively damaged. Efforts to restore the library are ongoing today, but the process is slow and many of the books and records can never be replaced.
Built in 1896 by the architects Alexander Wittek and Ciril Ivekovic, orginally as the Town Hall later being converted into a library